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News Link • Privacy Rights

Here's why you've been getting so many privacy policy and terms of service updates lately


Right now, many of the big websites, services, and apps you use are rushing to get their new privacy policies and terms of service in order. You've probably noticed all the notifications about it popping up on your phone and in your email. Just this week, we've seen messages from Etsy, Instagram, GoDaddy, Squarespace, Square, LinkedIn, Strava, SoundCloud, and just about any other app that requires you to sign up for an account. The driving force behind this change is Europe's new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which has been approved since 2016, but goes into effect on May 25, 2018.

GDPR is a massive overhaul of privacy on the Web laid out over the course of a 261-page document that you can read here if you're feeling studious. The recent wave of privacy policy and terms of service notifications, however, mostly stem from a part of the regulation regarding consent and taking steps to prevent companies from opting users into terms that are hidden within monstrous legal documents that most people don't even read before clicking "agree."

A 2008 study showed that it would take the average person roughly 244 hours per year to read all of the privacy policies for sites they use, which translates to about 40 minutes per day. And that was way back in 2008 when people used the internet for an estimated 1 hour, 12 minutes per day—a number that has grown to roughly 3 hours, 10 minutes. It sure is much easier just to check the box that says, "I agree" and then start using an app or service.

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